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Panda Updates – Wednesday, July 8

Giant pandas have a powerful jaw structure that helps them break the tough exterior of bamboo. Their jaw muscles are attached at the sagittal crest at the tops of their heads, which is what allows them to have such a strong jaw force. Giant pandas also have some unique features regarding their dentition compared with other members of the carnivore family. In “The Carnivores” by R.F. Ewer, the author states that giant pandas have an “elaboration of the crushing features..” with “broad, flat molars” and a jaw that allows for more “sideways grinding” compared with other carnivores. He adds that “the posterior premolars are [also] important. In bears, the emphasis on the molars is greater, and the premolars are more reduced”. These dental traits seen in giant pandas are adaptations that result in why they are such chompy chewers!

Amanda D.
Keeper I, Mammals

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